PlayStation May Change Game Difficulty By Analyzing Your Skill Level

Sony is making a new difficulty setting that adjusts to how you play, and we've got the details here!
Playstation Logo With Letters In Space
Image: Sony

A recently uncovered patent suggests Sony is exploring a new system that adjusts game difficulty based on your individual skill level across various skills. This could be a way of adding scalable difficulty to PlayStation, but the worst-case scenario is that it could be a way for developers to take out the difficulty menu altogether.

The patent from Sony, describes a system that analyzes your performance data across multiple skills within a game. It tracks your speed, accuracy, resource usage, and more, building a comprehensive picture of your strengths and weaknesses. Based on this analysis, the system predicts how you might fare in upcoming challenges and then dynamically adjusts the difficulty parameters to keep you engaged.

PlayStation Sony Difficulty Patent
Image: Sony

As found by Exputer, the idea is that you’re battling your way through a dense forest in a fantasy RPG. The system notices you effortlessly dispatch basic enemies but struggle against agile archers. On the fly, it increases the spawn rate of archers and slightly enhances their reflexes, giving you a more satisfying and targeted challenge. Or, in a racing game, the system detects your mastery of tight corners but sees you fumble on hairpin turns. It adjusts the track layout accordingly, throwing in more hairpins while keeping the straights smooth, forcing you to hone your precision cornering skills.

This skill-based approach goes beyond the traditional easy, medium, and hard spectrum. It believes that difficulty isn’t a monolithic concept but a tapestry woven from individual skills. The system can differentiate between players who excel at combat but struggle with puzzles and vice versa, offering each a personalized path to mastery.

The thing that surprises me is that the patent extends beyond individual games. The patent hints at cross-title neutrality, meaning your performance data could be used across different games, even from other publishers. This creates a unified picture of your skillset across genres, allowing future games to tailor their challenges accordingly. Imagine a platformer that throws tougher wall jumps your way if you’ve conquered similar challenges in other games or a first-person shooter that ramps up enemy AI based on your tactical prowess in previous titles.

I absolutely hate the idea, and I want to be the one who decides how hard games are for me. Games are meant for relaxation, and I’m not interested in the Souls’ difficulties. This personalized approach to difficulty could have far-reaching implications. For hardcore players, it could offer an ever-evolving challenge, pushing them to new heights of skill and mastery. However, for casual players, it will make things a lot less casual.

Some may worry about the possibility of exploiting the system to manipulate players into spending more time in-game. It’s true that there is some good because by creating a dynamic and personalized difficulty experience, PlayStation could usher in a new era of gaming where challenge is tailored to the individual, and progress feels truly earned.

A patent isn’t a guarantee that something is coming, just that an idea was created with a prototype. I just hope it’s an optional feature, not a forced one.

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar

Jorge A. Aguilar, also known as Aggy, is the current Assigning Editor.

He started his career as an esports, influencer, and streaming writer for Sportskeeda. He then moved to GFinity Esports to cover streaming, games, guides, and news before moving to the Social team where he ended his time as the Lead of Social Content.

He also worked a writer and editor for both Pro Game Guides and Dot Esports, and as a writer for PC Invasion, Attack of the Fanboy, and Android Police. Aggy is the former Managing Editor and Operations Overseer of N4G Unlocked and a former Gaming editor for WePC.

Throughout his time in the industry, he's trained over 100 writers, written thousands of articles on multiple sites, written more reviews than he cares to count, and edited tens of thousands of articles. He has also written some games published by Tales, some books, and a comic sold to Telus International.

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